The Ambassador in Germany ( Dodd ) to the Secretary of State

No. 3062

Sir: Referring to the Embassy’s despatch No. 3054 of September 21, 1936,27 I have the honor to report on certain aspects of the Seventh Congress of the National Socialist Party, designated the “Congress of Honor,” held in Nuremberg from September 7–14.

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Although this year’s Congress brought forth little essentially new, it may be regarded as important as presenting a picture of what Germany is today. Nazi action is usually brought forth with a dramatic swiftness and excitement which occasionally tend to a distortion of perspective and the lack of it this year yielded a certain advantage in providing a more serene atmosphere in which to contemplate the changes wrought after almost four years of National Socialist dominion.

During this period the National Socialist leaders have put into effect enough of their original program to be taken at their word that despite all discouragement they are bent upon having their way completely, and Hitler has shown sufficient determination of purpose to lead to the belief that when he speaks his will it shall eventually be done. The fact that action does not always immediately follow the [Page 153] announcement because frequently influential opposition arises, is in a sense deceptive. National Socialists think in terms of not one but of succeeding generations and realize that they can afford to wait their moment. Attrition of opposition followed by the perfectly timed final blow has been the method followed in the past, and a remarkably successful one it has proved considering the relatively few explosions produced during and after the revolution. The process by which Germany is being transformed may be likened to the rebuilding of a railway bridge while in actual use. A supporting pillar is removed to be replaced by another until finally and imperceptibly the entire structure is new. It is no exaggeration to say that as far as the German youth is concerned, the pillars of Christian morality and individual conscience have already been replaced by a supreme loyalty to Germany and its accepted leaders.

By his own confession Hitler is a Socialist and it is not unlikely that the form of authoritarian Socialism peculiar to the dictatorship will be intensified to force submission to the sacrifices demanded by the execution of the military and self-sufficiency programs. To the extent of compelling obedience to his purpose of making Germany powerful and united Hitler must be regarded as a radical in internal policy and there can be little doubt concerning the sincerity of his denunciation of “bourgeois” opposition, or rather indifference. The quicker the pace is accelerated, as it has been through the lengthening of the military service period, and the greater the difficulties may perhaps become, the more the Army, which once looked askance at the excesses of the Party, and which at one time was deemed to furnish support to those conservative elements interested in the issue of personal liberty, may be expected to rely upon the latter to keep the population in political alignment. A firmer basis of mutual respect appears to have developed between the Army and the Party: on the one hand through reverence for the common leader, Hitler, and through the Army’s realization of the Party’s utility; and on the other, by virtue of the Party’s admiration of the Army as the instrument whose growth has made possible Germany’s foreign successes and which is looked to eventually to furnish more. In a certain sense the latest measure of prolonging the conscription period may be regarded as serving almost equally well the Party’s interests as those of the Army; assuming that technical training will not be allowed to suffer in view of its importance to the development of military might, the longer service term will discourage in greater measure a visitation of the youth to the universities and thus the survival of an intellectualism which is the deadly enemy of National Socialism.

By its title, “the Congress of Honor”, the rally might have been expected to imply an acknowledgment that Germany had attained its [Page 154] status of equality. On the other hand, the possibility of a “colonial demand” was spoken of and the anti-Bolshevist campaign, the more so because of the inconsistency of the repeated declarations that Germany had nothing to fear from that quarter, bears testimony to a restlessness of spirit seeking expression outwards which characterizes Germany under National Socialist rule.

Respectfully yours,

William E. Dodd
  1. Not printed.